45.2 miles
19,343 ft
-19,581 ft
4,429 ft
High Point

Old Ghost Road Details

  • Difficulty rating
  • Trail type
  • Bike type
    AM, XC
  • Trail Usage
  • Direction
    Both Directions
  • Climb Difficulty
  • Physical rating
  • Land Manager

In the North West corner of the South Island of New Zealand a ghost is awakening. A long-forgotten gold miners’ road is being revived as a mountain biking and tramping trail – connecting the old dray road in the Lyell (Upper Buller Gorge) to the mighty Mokihinui River in the north. The 85km-long Old Ghost Road will traverse majestic native forest, open tussock tops, river flats and forgotten valleys.

A proud member of the New Zealand Cycle Trail, the volunteer-driven Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust is partnering with a range of other entities to make The Old Ghost Road a reality. It’s almost as if the engineers from the 1870’s knew we were coming! The spirits of the old miners and track builders are inescapable. No less than five ghost towns populate the route. The Old Ghost Road is quite literally an 85km-long outdoor museum.

The Old Ghost Road is a work in progress and is due for completion in late 2015 (refer to our Trail Status page for updates).
Our volunteers and supporters know that each generation grows up in an increasingly urbanised environment. The connection to the land dims. Here, on The Old Ghost Road, heritage, wilderness, accessibility and storytelling come together in an unforgettable way. We invite you to join the journey……

See http://www.oldghostroad.org.nz/ for updated information on trail status and hut booking.

Access Info

The Old Ghost Road’s trail heads are two hours drive apart – or 4-5 days tramp! Various options are available for cyclists and trampers.

Due to The Old Ghost Road’s elevation profile, Lyell is the suggested starting point for through-trampers (and, by late 2015, through-cyclists). 1200m elevation is gained via a steady climb past the Lyell Saddle Hut and up to Ghost Lake, while the descent into Stern Valley and Goat Creek is steeper and more technical. Riders and trampers can enjoy day and overnight trips from this end, which features lush beech forest, historic artifacts, and in the Lyell Saddle to Ghost Lake section, sweeping views.
The Lyell Historic Reserve has ample parking, a Department of Conservation Campground, water and toilet facilities. It is 62km east of Westport, 15km east of Inangahua or 35km south of Murchison on State Highway 6 in the Upper Buller Gorge.
Grid reference: NZTM2000, E1520990-N5372328
Latitude: -41.79697466, Longitude: 172.04899791

Local Trail Association
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Waipa Mountain Bike Club (www.waipamtb.org.nz)
Please consider joining or donating to the local riding association to support trail development & maintenance.
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More Stats for Old Ghost Road mountain bike trail
  • Altitude change
    -237 ft
  • Altitude min
    123 ft
  • Altitude start
    362 ft
  • Altitude end
    124 ft
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    20.6 miles
  • Distance down
    21.4 miles
  • Distance flat
    3.2 miles
  • view trail stats
Avg: 5 (3 votes)

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Old Ghost Road Trail Reports

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more »
31 |
Sep 18, 2016 @ 6:06pm
Sep 18, 2016
Old Ghost Road, My City
230 |
Apr 6, 2016 @ 8:48pm
Apr 6, 2016
Old Ghost Road, Motueka
141 |
Apr 6, 2016 @ 7:13pm
Apr 6, 2016
Old Ghost Road, Motueka
176 |
Apr 6, 2016 @ 6:56pm
Apr 6, 2016
Old Ghost Road, Motueka

2 Reviews & Comments

  • + 2
flag YogiNZ TRAILFORKS (Sep 6, 2015 at 16:28)
 Updated status from the Facebook Page:

Trail Construction Update

Because of your support and our recent fundraising success, the last few months have seen a hive of activity on The Old Ghost Road as we forge ahead with efforts to complete the trail.

Work continues in the last two unformed sections and we now have just under 2km to go to connect these sections with formed trail on either side. Nothing comes easy in this terrain however and we still expect this to take a solid three months to complete.
For those eager to get through the whole trail as soon as possible, please note that the sections under construction remain closed for obvious safety (and user satisfaction) reasons and ‘through-users’ still need to follow the ‘marked route’ which involves some 8km of challenging tramping. Refer to the trail map on our website for details (note the ‘marked route’ is depicted as a white dotted line).

With the finish line in sight, we expect to announce a formal Grand Opening within the very near future. We’ve also been working hard on developing some packages that we believe will offer outstanding experiences on The Old Ghost Road. Stay tuned for both of these developments.

In the meantime, for those of you itching to experience some or all of The Old Ghost Road, our outstanding bevy of Official Partners can take care of all your accommodation, transportation, hire, food and beverage and adventure needs during your visit. Find them here and learn how they can make your visit a memorable one.
As always, feel free to contact us on info@oldghostroad.org.nz if you have any feedback or suggestions or have any insights into how to deliver some favourable weather over the coming months.

Thank you, as ever, for your support and encouragement!

The Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust
  • + 1
flag YogiNZ TRAILFORKS (Dec 11, 2015 at 15:21)
 Update from the website about trail opening:

The Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust is delighted to announce a public grand opening for The Old Ghost Road at the NBS Theatre in Westport at 2pm on 12th December 2015. At 85km, it will be New Zealand’s longest continuous single track, designed for mountain bikers and trampers alike.

Our much anticipated opening comes after nearly nine years of planning, fundraising and construction. The project has benefited from a monumental 26,000 hours of volunteer input underpinned by more than 100,000 hours of paid employment.
Joining the trail and having it fully open will be a massive moment and hopefully a building block in a new future for the Buller District. It is a testament to the tenacity, skill and dedication of the construction personnel, our wonderful project sponsors, key partners such as the Department of Conservation and our army of volunteers that we have been able to pull this off.

The Old Ghost Road is one of 23 Great Rides in the New Zealand Cycle Trail. It runs from the historic mining settlement of Lyell in the south to Seddonville in the north. The trail has 16 bridges and four new hut complexes to complement two pre-existing Department of Conservation huts. It is a Grade 4 mountain bike track suitable for skilled and experienced backcountry riders and trampers.

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